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Philanthropy's Essential role in 
K-12 Edtech & Strategies for Impact 
October 2014
Technology is 
Technology is enabling the 
shift from one-size-fits-all to individualized instruction 
Technology helps teachers do more by creating 
new learning environments that leverage teacher talent 
of teachers agree that technology use in the 
classroom can enhance student learning 
Sources: http://gettingsmart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Digital-Learning-Deeper-Learning-Full-White-Paper.pdf 
and BrightBytes Survey
Majority of Edtech Funding is from 
Traditional Investors, but gaps exist 
Private capital accounts for of K-12 
edtech funding. It is concentrated at the early stages. 
Funding gaps exist at the later stages, within 
specialized markets, and for school solutions. 
Source: h"p://www.newschools.org/blog/closer-­‐look-­‐2013
Philanthropic capital is needed to 
realize the full potential of edtech 
Traditional investors are unlikely to provide 
sufficient funding for high quality tools for 
Special needs and underserved students. 
With their focus on impact and long view of 
the market, foundations are uniquely 
positioned to fill edtech funding gaps.
Executive Summary 
of K-12 edtech ? 
How can Foundations increase Their Support 
• Limited expertise in for-profit investing 
• Belief that VCs are better equipped 
• Preference to fund non-profit orgs. 
• Restrictions and challenges with 
investing vehicles 
• Lack of alignment with mission/strategy 
• Invest through intermediaries 
• Target underfunded areas 
• Conduct RFPs/Challenges 
• Fund research and efficacy studies 
• Develop an accelerator partnership 
• Fund districts for specific edtech usage
AGENDA 
Funding landscape 
of foundations and K-12 
edtech since 2013 
Barriers 
to foundations funding 
edtech 
Next Steps 
for foundations interested in 
edtech 
Potential Solutions 
to address edtech funding 
barriers
Majority of Foundation edtech funding has been 
to Non-Profits and in the form of grants 
51% of investments are in Non-profits 
80% of invested dollars are in the form of grants 
Source: Publicly available data from grants databases of various foundations: http://bit.ly/1s2hsD1 
Note: Does not include LP positions in for-profit edtech funds 
1. Funding Landscape
Largest category of Foundation edtech funding 
is School Operations 
$5M 
$0.5 M 
$4M 
1. Funding Landscape 
$8M 
$21M 
$4M 
$1M 
$6M 
Curriculum Products 
Teacher Needs 
School Operations 
Sites and Resources 
Resource Discovery, Curation 
& Lesson Planning 
Games 
College and Career 
Intermediary 
Source: Publicly available data from grants databases of various foundations: http://bit.ly/1s2hsD1 
Note: Intermediary category does not include LP positions in for-profit edtech funds 
Categories based on EdSurge Index- https://www.edsurge.com/products/
Foundations Have Varying levels of interest and 
activity in funding K-12 edtech 
Trailblazers 
Enthusiasts 
Up-And-Comers 
Thinkers 
No Interest** 
My foundation is an active investor in 
K-12 edtech and it’s part of our 
strategy 
4+ 
2-3 
1-2 
0 
0 
I am interested in K-12 edtech and am 
finding ways to align it with my 
foundation’s overall strategy 
My foundation has made a few one-off 
investments in K-12 edtech, but it 
is not core to our strategy 
I have heard that other foundations 
invest in K-12 edtech, but I do not 
know where to start 
I am interested in supporting 
education, but not K-12 edtech 
*Since 2013 
**Foundations with “No interest” were not included in this research 
1. Funding Landscape
1. Funding Landscape
Trailblazers & Enthusiasts have Funded edtech 
through a variety of channels 
Grant 
Request for 
Proposal 
Mission 
Related 
Investment 
Program 
Related 
Investment 
Research/ 
Efficacy Study 
Limited 
Partner 
Investment 
Bill and Melinda 
Gates Foundation 
˜ 
˜ 
˜ 
˜ 
˜ 
˜ 
Michael and Susan 
Dell Foundation 
˜ 
˜ 
ECMC Foundation 
˜ 
˜ 
˜ 
Joyce Foundation 
˜ 
˜ 
W.K. Kellogg 
Foundation 
˜ 
˜ 
˜ 
1. Funding Landscape
AGENDA 
Funding landscape 
of foundations and K-12 
edtech since 2013 
Barriers 
to foundations funding 
edtech 
Next Steps 
for foundations interested in 
edtech 
Potential Solutions 
to address edtech funding 
barriers
We asked Foundations what 
prevents them from funding 
edtech and this is what we 
2. Barriers 
heard…
Limited expertise in for-profit 
investing 
Foundations want scalable and 
sustainable solutions [in edtech], but have 
a lack of knowledge on how to do it. 
2. Barriers
Belief that traditional investors are 
better equipped 
VCs start out with much more money dedicated to this area, so 
it doesn’t make sense for foundations to give small 
amounts and ask companies to pitch them. 
2. Barriers 
What impact can a foundation have on such 
a large market with relatively small 
philanthropic investments?
Preference to fund non-profit 
organizations 
Markets direct for-profit edtech companies 
away from their focus on impact. 
Foundations don’t want to be perceived as 
making returns off of schools/teachers/ 
students. 
2. Barriers
Restrictions And Challenges with 
investing vehicles 
Studies show that organizations are more 
successful when they receive general operating 
support, but grants are restricted for a 
particular purpose. 
A PRI IS a hassle and requires that a foundation bring in lawyers. 
2. Barriers
Lack of mission & Strategy Alignment 
Many edtech investments help 
the education sector at-large, but 
few investments are 
targeted at a foundation’s 
specific region and/or 
populations. 
2. Barriers
AGENDA 
Funding landscape 
of foundations and K-12 
edtech since 2013 
Barriers 
to foundations funding 
edtech 
Next Steps 
for foundations interested in 
edtech 
Potential Solutions 
to address edtech funding 
barriers
Investing through intermediaries allows 
foundations to learn how to invest in edtech 
Can leverage existing expertise 
Can “sit at the table” and learn the 
investing process 
1- Nellie Mae is an LP in Rethink Education 
2- ECMC is an LP in New Markets Venture Partners and Rethink Education 
3- MSDF, Gates Foundation, Sobrato Family Foundation, and J.A. and 
Kathryn Albertson Foundation have funded the NewSchools Seed Fund 
3. solutions 
Not building in-house capacity 
Investments not as tightly aligned to 
strategy and metrics
Targeting underfunded areas addresses needs 
unlikely to be met by traditional investors 
Less overlap with VCs as special 
populations written off as too niche 
Opportunity to focus edtech on 
specific populations and go deeper 
Can signal market opportunities 
1- Michael and Susan Dell Foundation gave a grant to Ellevation to adapt 
their English Language Learner product for Texas standards/regulatory processes 
2- Stuart Foundation gave a grant to Goalbook to improve the educational 
opportunities for students in foster care 
3. solutions 
Overcapitalization early on could 
lead to unsustainable business 
models
Conducting RFPs/challenges is a great way to 
Identify and select Mission Aligned solutions 
Defined goal of intended impact 
Selection 
of 
best 
solutions 
Surface 
unknown 
opportunities 
1- Gates Foundation launched the Literacy Courseware Challenge for the 
creation and development of web-based literacy courseware 
2- Robin Hood Foundation launched the College Success Challenge to fund 
the development of solutions to address remedial graduation rates 
3. solutions 
Limited 
only 
to 
applicants 
Could force early stage startups to 
expend all resources on the challenge 
Requires 
expertise 
in 
crafting 
challenges and capacity to run them
Funding Research and efficacy studies provides 
objective metrics and benefits the entire sector 
Studies benefit entire field 
Can align study to mission and 
strategy 
Noyce Foundation funded a controlled experiment to determine if Motion Math 
improves a child’s fractions knowledge and attitudes 
3. solutions 
Unintended 
results 
from 
study 
Requires different methods like 
Developmental Evaluation 
May not have applicability/scalability 
to other regions or populations
Developing Accelerator partnerships leverages 
expertise and builds edtech network 
Selection of best applicants 
Partners typically complementary 
1- Zynga.org partnered with NewSchools to launch Co.lab, an accelerator for 
startups using the power of games to transform education 
2- Foundations have supported edtech accelerators like Imagine K-12, 
LearnLaunchX, 4.0 Schools and Kaplan TechStars 
3. solutions 
Risk of brand image with partnership 
Cost of physical space/resources 
Needs to be targeted or may not 
provide enough value to startups
Funding districts for specific edtech usage 
allows for targeted impact in A region 
Can fund a targeted region or district 
of interest 
Can influence districts to improve 
procurement processes 
More tangible student outcomes 
J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation funded a statewide pilot of Khan 
Academy in Idaho 
3. solutions 
Only expands existing edtech vs. 
driving new innovation 
Can 
distort demand and alter edtech 
product design 
May not be sustainable since funding 
has to be renewed
AGENDA 
Funding landscape 
of foundations and K-12 
edtech since 2013 
Barriers 
to foundations funding 
edtech 
Next Steps 
for foundations interested in 
edtech 
Potential Solutions 
to address edtech funding 
barriers
Foundations at all interest levels can take 
steps to accelerate edtech innovation 
1 - Identify barriers specific to your foundation and determine solutions which are 
most suitable given your mission and capacity 
2 - Build knowledge of impact investing vehicles: PRI, MRI, Expenditure Responsibility 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2013/02/21/why-program-related-investments-are-not-risky-business/ 
http://www.nafoa.org/pdf/Mission-Related-Investing.pdf 
http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Private-Foundations/Grants-by-Private-Foundations:-Expenditure-Responsibility 
3 - Work with other funders to develop investment frameworks for broader 
publication/implementation: Mission Investors Exchange- https://www.missioninvestors.org/ 
4 - Stay on top of trends in edtech: 
https://www.edsurge.com/ 
http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2013/06/2013-honor-roll-edtechs-must-read-k-12-it-blogs 
http://patricklowenthal.com/2013/11/educational-technology-related-education-conferences/ 
5 - SIGN UP to learn more and connect with foundations interested in funding edtech: 
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1481dz_5DsJM0aaZISqW8ceAHXhVx4vqYOnVfNqd6HNE/viewform?usp=send_form 
4. Next Steps
Recent Articles 
How Foundations Can Engage the Startup Community to Accelerate Impact-https:// 
www.facebook.com/1776dc/posts/343575895796196 
Boosting Impact: Why Foundations Should Invest in Education Venture 
Funds- http://cdno.gettingsmart.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Boosting-Impact-Final.pdf 
A Tale of Different Deals: Diving into Early Stage Edtech Investments-https:// 
www.edsurge.com/n/2014-05-05-a-tale-of-different-deals-diving-into-early-stage-edtech-investments 
The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation-http:// 
www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_re_emerging_art_of_funding_innovation 
4. Next Steps
Thank you to the following leaders who took 
the time to make this research possible 
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Kai Kung, Stacey Childress 
Michael & Susan Dell Foundation: Micah Sagebiel 
The Joyce Foundation: Matt Muench 
Nellie Mae Education Foundation: Nick Donahue 
ECMC Foundation: Josh Susser 
V3 Consulting: Victor Vuchic
Appendix 
Foundation Snapshots
The Gates Foundation has led the field in 
approaches to edtech funding 
Interview Insights: 
RFPs are an investment vehicle for the impact that a foundation wants to 
see and create. 
PRIs and MRIs are often misunderstood in the foundation field. 
New Venture Fund 
$12.6M grant 
Pacific Charter 
School 
Development 
$4M grant 
Summit Public 
Schools 
$500k grant 
Appendix 
BloomBoard 
$3M PRI 
BrightBytes 
$330k RFP grant 
LearnZillion 
$1.7M grant
MSDF has made several edtech grants and 
made its first PRI in 2011 
Interview Insights: 
One area of focus is on promising Series A companies that might use a PRI to attract 
traditional investors. MSDF seeks opportunities to serve as a market signal for quality 
of potential student outcomes and strong business opportunity. 
As MSDF launched its U.S. PRI use in 2011, it decided not to build out a dedicated PRI 
team, but to integrate the practice into existing program officers’ tool kit. 
Urban Teacher 
Center 
$1M grant 
Philadelphia School 
Partnership 
$4.5M grant 
Digital Promise 
$300k grant 
Appendix 
NewSchools 
Venture Seed Fund 
$3M grant 
Schoolzilla 
$250k grant 
Mastery Connect 
$1.5M Series A- PRI 
$1M Series A1- PRI
ECMC has made edtech investments through the endowment 
to support its mission and generate return 
Interview Insights: 
Intermediaries are a good way to invest endowment dollars. 
PRIs can be used to invest at earlier stages (seed) and MRIs used for later stages. 
California Student 
Aid Commission 
$98M grant 
Appendix 
Rethink Education 
LP position 
New Markets 
Venture Partners 
LP position 
Quad Learning 
Series B
The Joyce Foundation has funded a few edtech 
companies and is developing an overall strategy 
Interview Insights: 
It’s unclear whether PRIs can be an efficient investment vehicle if you’re not building a 
full portfolio. 
Absent an approach to direct investing in companies providing products/services, 
supporting the ecosystem through funding research and infrastructure organizations 
(like Digital Promise) can have broad impact. 
Intermediaries and traditional investors are better equipped to do diligence than 
building that capacity in-house. 
WestEd 
$1.2M grant 
Advance Illinois 
$1M grant 
Appendix 
EdSurge 
$165k research 
grant 
SRI 
$1.1M efficacy 
study
Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s Approach is to 
invest as an LP in education venture funds 
Interview Insights: 
When investing as an LP in an education fund, there may be more risk 
on profit, but there is better alignment with the foundation’s mission. 
Department of 
Education 
$230k grant 
Appendix 
Rethink Education 
LP Position

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Philanthropy’s Essential Role in K-12 Edtech and Strategies for Impact

  • 1. Philanthropy's Essential role in K-12 Edtech & Strategies for Impact October 2014
  • 2. Technology is Technology is enabling the shift from one-size-fits-all to individualized instruction Technology helps teachers do more by creating new learning environments that leverage teacher talent of teachers agree that technology use in the classroom can enhance student learning Sources: http://gettingsmart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Digital-Learning-Deeper-Learning-Full-White-Paper.pdf and BrightBytes Survey
  • 3. Majority of Edtech Funding is from Traditional Investors, but gaps exist Private capital accounts for of K-12 edtech funding. It is concentrated at the early stages. Funding gaps exist at the later stages, within specialized markets, and for school solutions. Source: h"p://www.newschools.org/blog/closer-­‐look-­‐2013
  • 4. Philanthropic capital is needed to realize the full potential of edtech Traditional investors are unlikely to provide sufficient funding for high quality tools for Special needs and underserved students. With their focus on impact and long view of the market, foundations are uniquely positioned to fill edtech funding gaps.
  • 5. Executive Summary of K-12 edtech ? How can Foundations increase Their Support • Limited expertise in for-profit investing • Belief that VCs are better equipped • Preference to fund non-profit orgs. • Restrictions and challenges with investing vehicles • Lack of alignment with mission/strategy • Invest through intermediaries • Target underfunded areas • Conduct RFPs/Challenges • Fund research and efficacy studies • Develop an accelerator partnership • Fund districts for specific edtech usage
  • 6. AGENDA Funding landscape of foundations and K-12 edtech since 2013 Barriers to foundations funding edtech Next Steps for foundations interested in edtech Potential Solutions to address edtech funding barriers
  • 7. Majority of Foundation edtech funding has been to Non-Profits and in the form of grants 51% of investments are in Non-profits 80% of invested dollars are in the form of grants Source: Publicly available data from grants databases of various foundations: http://bit.ly/1s2hsD1 Note: Does not include LP positions in for-profit edtech funds 1. Funding Landscape
  • 8. Largest category of Foundation edtech funding is School Operations $5M $0.5 M $4M 1. Funding Landscape $8M $21M $4M $1M $6M Curriculum Products Teacher Needs School Operations Sites and Resources Resource Discovery, Curation & Lesson Planning Games College and Career Intermediary Source: Publicly available data from grants databases of various foundations: http://bit.ly/1s2hsD1 Note: Intermediary category does not include LP positions in for-profit edtech funds Categories based on EdSurge Index- https://www.edsurge.com/products/
  • 9. Foundations Have Varying levels of interest and activity in funding K-12 edtech Trailblazers Enthusiasts Up-And-Comers Thinkers No Interest** My foundation is an active investor in K-12 edtech and it’s part of our strategy 4+ 2-3 1-2 0 0 I am interested in K-12 edtech and am finding ways to align it with my foundation’s overall strategy My foundation has made a few one-off investments in K-12 edtech, but it is not core to our strategy I have heard that other foundations invest in K-12 edtech, but I do not know where to start I am interested in supporting education, but not K-12 edtech *Since 2013 **Foundations with “No interest” were not included in this research 1. Funding Landscape
  • 11. Trailblazers & Enthusiasts have Funded edtech through a variety of channels Grant Request for Proposal Mission Related Investment Program Related Investment Research/ Efficacy Study Limited Partner Investment Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ Michael and Susan Dell Foundation ˜ ˜ ECMC Foundation ˜ ˜ ˜ Joyce Foundation ˜ ˜ W.K. Kellogg Foundation ˜ ˜ ˜ 1. Funding Landscape
  • 12. AGENDA Funding landscape of foundations and K-12 edtech since 2013 Barriers to foundations funding edtech Next Steps for foundations interested in edtech Potential Solutions to address edtech funding barriers
  • 13. We asked Foundations what prevents them from funding edtech and this is what we 2. Barriers heard…
  • 14. Limited expertise in for-profit investing Foundations want scalable and sustainable solutions [in edtech], but have a lack of knowledge on how to do it. 2. Barriers
  • 15. Belief that traditional investors are better equipped VCs start out with much more money dedicated to this area, so it doesn’t make sense for foundations to give small amounts and ask companies to pitch them. 2. Barriers What impact can a foundation have on such a large market with relatively small philanthropic investments?
  • 16. Preference to fund non-profit organizations Markets direct for-profit edtech companies away from their focus on impact. Foundations don’t want to be perceived as making returns off of schools/teachers/ students. 2. Barriers
  • 17. Restrictions And Challenges with investing vehicles Studies show that organizations are more successful when they receive general operating support, but grants are restricted for a particular purpose. A PRI IS a hassle and requires that a foundation bring in lawyers. 2. Barriers
  • 18. Lack of mission & Strategy Alignment Many edtech investments help the education sector at-large, but few investments are targeted at a foundation’s specific region and/or populations. 2. Barriers
  • 19. AGENDA Funding landscape of foundations and K-12 edtech since 2013 Barriers to foundations funding edtech Next Steps for foundations interested in edtech Potential Solutions to address edtech funding barriers
  • 20. Investing through intermediaries allows foundations to learn how to invest in edtech Can leverage existing expertise Can “sit at the table” and learn the investing process 1- Nellie Mae is an LP in Rethink Education 2- ECMC is an LP in New Markets Venture Partners and Rethink Education 3- MSDF, Gates Foundation, Sobrato Family Foundation, and J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation have funded the NewSchools Seed Fund 3. solutions Not building in-house capacity Investments not as tightly aligned to strategy and metrics
  • 21. Targeting underfunded areas addresses needs unlikely to be met by traditional investors Less overlap with VCs as special populations written off as too niche Opportunity to focus edtech on specific populations and go deeper Can signal market opportunities 1- Michael and Susan Dell Foundation gave a grant to Ellevation to adapt their English Language Learner product for Texas standards/regulatory processes 2- Stuart Foundation gave a grant to Goalbook to improve the educational opportunities for students in foster care 3. solutions Overcapitalization early on could lead to unsustainable business models
  • 22. Conducting RFPs/challenges is a great way to Identify and select Mission Aligned solutions Defined goal of intended impact Selection of best solutions Surface unknown opportunities 1- Gates Foundation launched the Literacy Courseware Challenge for the creation and development of web-based literacy courseware 2- Robin Hood Foundation launched the College Success Challenge to fund the development of solutions to address remedial graduation rates 3. solutions Limited only to applicants Could force early stage startups to expend all resources on the challenge Requires expertise in crafting challenges and capacity to run them
  • 23. Funding Research and efficacy studies provides objective metrics and benefits the entire sector Studies benefit entire field Can align study to mission and strategy Noyce Foundation funded a controlled experiment to determine if Motion Math improves a child’s fractions knowledge and attitudes 3. solutions Unintended results from study Requires different methods like Developmental Evaluation May not have applicability/scalability to other regions or populations
  • 24. Developing Accelerator partnerships leverages expertise and builds edtech network Selection of best applicants Partners typically complementary 1- Zynga.org partnered with NewSchools to launch Co.lab, an accelerator for startups using the power of games to transform education 2- Foundations have supported edtech accelerators like Imagine K-12, LearnLaunchX, 4.0 Schools and Kaplan TechStars 3. solutions Risk of brand image with partnership Cost of physical space/resources Needs to be targeted or may not provide enough value to startups
  • 25. Funding districts for specific edtech usage allows for targeted impact in A region Can fund a targeted region or district of interest Can influence districts to improve procurement processes More tangible student outcomes J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation funded a statewide pilot of Khan Academy in Idaho 3. solutions Only expands existing edtech vs. driving new innovation Can distort demand and alter edtech product design May not be sustainable since funding has to be renewed
  • 26. AGENDA Funding landscape of foundations and K-12 edtech since 2013 Barriers to foundations funding edtech Next Steps for foundations interested in edtech Potential Solutions to address edtech funding barriers
  • 27. Foundations at all interest levels can take steps to accelerate edtech innovation 1 - Identify barriers specific to your foundation and determine solutions which are most suitable given your mission and capacity 2 - Build knowledge of impact investing vehicles: PRI, MRI, Expenditure Responsibility http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2013/02/21/why-program-related-investments-are-not-risky-business/ http://www.nafoa.org/pdf/Mission-Related-Investing.pdf http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Private-Foundations/Grants-by-Private-Foundations:-Expenditure-Responsibility 3 - Work with other funders to develop investment frameworks for broader publication/implementation: Mission Investors Exchange- https://www.missioninvestors.org/ 4 - Stay on top of trends in edtech: https://www.edsurge.com/ http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2013/06/2013-honor-roll-edtechs-must-read-k-12-it-blogs http://patricklowenthal.com/2013/11/educational-technology-related-education-conferences/ 5 - SIGN UP to learn more and connect with foundations interested in funding edtech: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1481dz_5DsJM0aaZISqW8ceAHXhVx4vqYOnVfNqd6HNE/viewform?usp=send_form 4. Next Steps
  • 28. Recent Articles How Foundations Can Engage the Startup Community to Accelerate Impact-https:// www.facebook.com/1776dc/posts/343575895796196 Boosting Impact: Why Foundations Should Invest in Education Venture Funds- http://cdno.gettingsmart.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Boosting-Impact-Final.pdf A Tale of Different Deals: Diving into Early Stage Edtech Investments-https:// www.edsurge.com/n/2014-05-05-a-tale-of-different-deals-diving-into-early-stage-edtech-investments The Re-Emerging Art of Funding Innovation-http:// www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_re_emerging_art_of_funding_innovation 4. Next Steps
  • 29. Thank you to the following leaders who took the time to make this research possible Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Kai Kung, Stacey Childress Michael & Susan Dell Foundation: Micah Sagebiel The Joyce Foundation: Matt Muench Nellie Mae Education Foundation: Nick Donahue ECMC Foundation: Josh Susser V3 Consulting: Victor Vuchic
  • 31. The Gates Foundation has led the field in approaches to edtech funding Interview Insights: RFPs are an investment vehicle for the impact that a foundation wants to see and create. PRIs and MRIs are often misunderstood in the foundation field. New Venture Fund $12.6M grant Pacific Charter School Development $4M grant Summit Public Schools $500k grant Appendix BloomBoard $3M PRI BrightBytes $330k RFP grant LearnZillion $1.7M grant
  • 32. MSDF has made several edtech grants and made its first PRI in 2011 Interview Insights: One area of focus is on promising Series A companies that might use a PRI to attract traditional investors. MSDF seeks opportunities to serve as a market signal for quality of potential student outcomes and strong business opportunity. As MSDF launched its U.S. PRI use in 2011, it decided not to build out a dedicated PRI team, but to integrate the practice into existing program officers’ tool kit. Urban Teacher Center $1M grant Philadelphia School Partnership $4.5M grant Digital Promise $300k grant Appendix NewSchools Venture Seed Fund $3M grant Schoolzilla $250k grant Mastery Connect $1.5M Series A- PRI $1M Series A1- PRI
  • 33. ECMC has made edtech investments through the endowment to support its mission and generate return Interview Insights: Intermediaries are a good way to invest endowment dollars. PRIs can be used to invest at earlier stages (seed) and MRIs used for later stages. California Student Aid Commission $98M grant Appendix Rethink Education LP position New Markets Venture Partners LP position Quad Learning Series B
  • 34. The Joyce Foundation has funded a few edtech companies and is developing an overall strategy Interview Insights: It’s unclear whether PRIs can be an efficient investment vehicle if you’re not building a full portfolio. Absent an approach to direct investing in companies providing products/services, supporting the ecosystem through funding research and infrastructure organizations (like Digital Promise) can have broad impact. Intermediaries and traditional investors are better equipped to do diligence than building that capacity in-house. WestEd $1.2M grant Advance Illinois $1M grant Appendix EdSurge $165k research grant SRI $1.1M efficacy study
  • 35. Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s Approach is to invest as an LP in education venture funds Interview Insights: When investing as an LP in an education fund, there may be more risk on profit, but there is better alignment with the foundation’s mission. Department of Education $230k grant Appendix Rethink Education LP Position